Naroda case: Court rejects plea to make 82 witnesses accused

A designated court hearing 2002 Naroda Gaam riot case rejected the plea of all accused seeking that 82 Muslim witnesses be tried for attacking Hindus.

Ahmedabad: A designated court hearing the 2002 Naroda Gaam riot case on Monday rejected the plea of all accused, including former minister Maya Kodnani, seeking that 82 Muslim witnesses be made accused and tried for attacking Hindus.

Designated court judge Jyotsna Yagnik turned down the application on the ground that provisions under section 319 of the CrPC do not provide that witnesses be made accused in the same trial.

In their application filed on May 24, all 79 accused, including Kodnani, had sought prosecution of 82 Muslim witnesses, including some key eye witnesses, on the ground that their own testimonies before the trial court revealed their participation in rioting on February 28, 2002.

Seventy nine persons are being tried in this case for killing of 11 persons in the post-Godhra riots in Naroda Gaam area of the city.

The accused in their plea cited various statements of the victim witnesses and police witnesses to argue that 82 Muslims, listed as prosecution witnesses, were sighted attacking Hindus with stones during the riot.

The prosecution countered this claim contending that no overt act on the part of even a single witness has been shown in the application moved by the accused.
Special Prosecutor Suresh Shah argued that there was no other evidence to implicate the witnesses and none of the victim witnesses had availed medical treatment in this regard.

The court also rejected an application requesting it to refer the issue of implication of witnesses to Gujarat high court for guidance under section 395 of CrPC.